November 21, 2013
It was a Saturday morning some 28 years ago. As I approached the conference room I could hear the banter in the hallway, the sounds of conversation and laughter. I entered unannounced, walking directly to the front of the room and the podium standing in front of the blackboard. As I approached the banter slowly turned to silence as the 23 couples present anticipated the start of our conference. The year was 1985, just three-years into my ministry. The gathering was a weekend retreat, the purpose was “marriage preparation”, the couples present all engaged.
About one-hour into the class, I asked all couples to stand and hold hands. Once standing I scanned the room and said: “I want each of you to look at each other and then look at all of the couples standing around you and realize this sad fact – statistically one in every ten marriages within the next five years will end up in the arms of a bitter divorce.” They seemed shocked, many looked at each other and just shook their heads, “no, not us.” The conference concentrated on how to live together, change together, and embrace the reality of cooperation and compromise – knowing well these are the attributes that enable a sound and healthy marriage.
Some 28 years later, if I were holding the same conference today – it would go something like this – “statistically one in every other marriage within the next five years will end up in the arms of a bitter divorce.” Sadly in just 28 years divorce embraces not just one in every ten it now tears apart every other marriage. After researching the issue of the causation of divorce there is one thing that stands out as the primary cause – the value of self and the loss of both cooperation and compromise. It is also clear that many view marriage as a “partnership” and few see it as a “life-binding commitment” – so if there are problems to hell with resolving them, we’ll just get a divorce and start anew.
Some believe everything in life has “secrets” – well that’s simply not true. Success in life, especially in marriage – is absolutely dependent on the union (marriage so to speak) of cooperation and compromise. Within the arms of these two successful relationships are found the pathway, the skills of building and maintaining a deep and sacred relationship. Most marriages are torn apart by the tide of anger – to deal with anger we first have to learn what anger is. Find a time when you are quiet – and do the following: identify what triggers your anger, recognize signs that you’re becoming angry, learn to respond to frustration and anger in a controlled, healthy way, and explore underlying feelings, such as sadness or depression.
Once anger is recognized and brought under control – then perhaps these words from George Strait might resound in your heart, in your other, and dominate your life. “Some folks got nothing but trouble - so little joy in their lives - but wherever we go happiness follows, we must be loving right. It might be the way I adore you - or the way that you hold me tight, I don’t know the reasons, girl I’m believing - we must be loving right.” I hope you find lots of love in your life.